2022 is just around the corner. And, with the key trends revealed in our recent 2021 State of Email Report in mind, we invited our panel of email experts to weigh in with guidance on what they mean for you.
To get a better idea of how email marketers can prepare for the new year, we spoke with experts Bruce Swann (Principal Product Marketing Manager at Adobe) and Cliff Mcgowen (Director of Marketing Operations at Nationwide), as well as our very own Jaina Mistry (Senior Email Marketing Manager at Litmus) and Cynthia Price (VP of Marketing at Litmus).
Missed the live conversation? Watch the webinar recording and read the Q&A below.
Here’s a recap of our answers to the most popular questions. Got more? Leave us a comment below.
How does the idea of customer journey factor into your 2022 plan?
Bruce: Often email is that gateway channel and used to activate other channels, whether it’s promoting social or promoting a mobile app. There might be customers who open an email as part of their onboarding campaign, but they might be more inclined to engage on mobile apps.
Really what the marketer must be cognizant of more than anything is the understanding that the customer can engage whenever they want. They have to be ready with a sequence of emails—like in an onboarding campaign—or also be ready for when that customer engages.
A key part of that journey is customers asking questions or seeking out content and information about purchases they just made. So all of that needs to be factored into the customer journey, how you view it, and where email fits into it.
As you’re planning for the next year, what’s the role of the “center of excellence” and how are email marketing teams doing it well?
Bruce: A lot of our customers still operate in silos where they’ll have email teams and they’ll have a mobile team. Focus on tearing down those silos at some point, but in the immediate term focus on the problems that those silos cause, like not having common KPIs or not having a mission statement (e.g. is there an overarching mission that those teams can leverage?).
What does agile marketing mean in your world?
Jaina: What we’re doing on the email team is we’re trying to identify those key areas of our process and workflow that we can be more efficient in, so we can be agile, flexible, and do things a little bit faster.
Previously, before we implemented an entire design library and template library within Litmus, it would take us around four weeks for us to turn around an email because we just didn’t have the things in place that would make things a lot faster.
We started this around this time last year, so it’s taken us a full year to build out this design and template library that has allowed us to be more agile and flexible. But we’re not done with it—it’s one of those things that’s a living, breathing document and it’ll continue helping us be more flexible and agile.
I think these are the small approaches that email teams can make on a daily basis that can help them be more flexible, because we’re now turning around emails in a matter of two weeks versus four weeks. That’s a huge win—it means you can do a lot more with that time.
Going Agile: The New Email Workflow
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What are some of the pitfalls of personalization and how do you navigate the increasing demand for it?
Cliff: The complexity required to make things personalized takes time. Plus, you open a door of risk of it not working, so you better really trust your data and data processes to bring that into your templates.
You should have a buttoned-up and bulletproof QA process. My team is doing more and more hyper-personalized messages than I’ve ever seen. It’s almost like everything is that way now. We’re pulling in account balances, policy defects, and policyholder information into email templates. We’re customizing content by audiences in newsletters.
Yet, it’s one template and spread of content to match those. Those are examples, but really what I’m trying to say is we love this [personalization]. As long as you love us for telling you, we need to take the right amount of time to do this accurately. And a lot of that is in your testing.
What are your predictions for what Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection will mean for email marketing?
Cliff: As email experts, we should be moving our partners and our enterprise into different measurements, different KPIs, and getting more crystal clear on things like what’s the cost per email.
Back to my media days, I used to have a “cost per” and things like impressions. So, maybe opens become impressions, so it’s more of a vanity and directionally sound for right making right decisions and in your marketing mix. But, it’s up to us to define that. If we’re thinking, creating, and sharing these best practices, I think we’ll be able to solve that as an email team globally across this channel.